Last year I rebed the frame for the Companionway slats since it was leaking. When doing so I knew I needed to do the track for the companionway hatch too, but it wasn’t showing signs of leaking, yet, so I waited until this spring to get it done. I had to start with pulling off the Spray Hood, which is just 9 screws and some 4000uv to cut away and it lifts off. I had this off several years ago when I ran the spinnaker halyard back to the cockpit, and rather short sightedly only installed a single cheek block for that one line instead of running a triple organizer like was installed on the starboard side, so while I had the spray hood off I installed a new but somewhat cheaply made Ronstan triple line deck organizer that I picked up somewhere for only $30. Hopefully it doesn’t rust on me, but for only $30 I was willing to give it a chance since Garhauer wants $240 for one.
As you can see there was LOTS of dirt under the spray hood, but there’s not much can be done to prevent that since you cannot get under there to clean it.
After taking off the spray hood the track rails came off far too easily after removing the screws, and only required a small amount of prying with a paint scraper on one end and the whole rail just popped free. This alone told me everything I needed to know about the factory installation, and with the track removed I was easily able to confirm it was poorly done and didn’t use enough sealant. With the track off I also found evidence that it had in fact been leaking, but I just hadn’t noticed. Maybe I should have done this sooner :-\..
What little sealant was used never covered any of the screw holes at all leaving absolutely nothing but the screw head itself preventing water from leaking in around the threads. I was able to pull off and remove all the old sealant in just a few minutes. I removed the old single cheek block / deck organizer I has installed 4 years prior for the spinnaker halyard and with the track rails off and the old sealant removed I cleaned up the surface under the track rails, the old cheek block, and the rails themselves to prepare for reinstalling everything.
The astute observer may also note my dilemma with keeping my beer cold and my hand warm, the can of Boddingtons is too tall for the thermos koozie…
Hunter did do at least one thing right, which was factory install a backing plate under the pads where the organizers and clutches sit. So I drilled and tapped the new holes for the new organizer, then did the final cleanup and surface prep / acetone wipe for installing everything.
For partially the same reason as the companionway slat frame, I chose to use 3M 4000uv instead of Butyl for this installation because of the ease of installation, and the fact that this shouldn’t see any load induced movement, thus should not see a premature failure of the sealant, it should be fine to last for at least 20 years before it needs redone.
I made sure to get plenty of sealant in and around the screw holes all the way down the track, installed the track and screwed everything down, filled the gaps near the ends, cleaned up the excess that squeezed out with acetone soaked rags, and did the same for the deck organizer.
With everything done and reinstalled, it was time to cleanup the rest of the area under the spray hood since, assuming that budget Ronstan deck organizer made of unknown painted metal doesn’t rust out on me, I won’t get another chance for a long time.
Now all that was left was to reinstall the spray hood and seal the screw holes for that. I opted to use new screws for the spray hood since the old ones were unnecessarily long and were pretty hard to get out.
The cover came off the boat the next day, and the spray hood was cleaned off then with the rest of the boat. All total this project only took about 4 1/2 hours to do, which was almost unbelievable to me when it was done, but then again I had a very helpful extra set of hands which certainly made things go quicker.